Last week Nicola Lathey (ASLTIP member) shared 5 games for encouraging communication skills with little ones. Today’s blog shares another 5, starting with every SLT’s favourite: bubbles!
This is a no-brainer! Babies LOVE bubbles. Blow some bubbles for your child and let them pop. Say “pop pop pop.” Wait for her to copy you, then say “more?” I always use the sign for “more,” too. Try hand-over-hand signing, mold your child’s hand into the shape of the sign (for “more” you clench your left fist in front of your body and bring your right hand towards it, covering your left knuckles).
I started this when my daughter was 12 months old and it took just 10 minutes for her to pick up that she had to move her hands together to receive more bubbles — I was amazed. Also try “bubbles up up up” or “bubbles down down down.” It’s so simple, yet it can have such a big impact on your child’s language development.
Books, books, books
Never forget the bedtime story. Introduce this routine as early as possible as books are an integral part of your child’s language development.
Look for children’s books that have a repetitive catch phrase and lots of vowel sounds that will appeal to a young baby’s ear. There are many games you can play during story time — use your baby’s finger to point out pictures that they might be interested in, let them turn the pages, encourage them to copy the actions or sounds in the book, and leave gaps while reading so your baby can attempt to fill in the key catchphrases. The more interactive you make storytime, the more fun they will have and the more they will learn.
“Ready, set… go” games
This is all about getting your child to realize that if he makes a sound, exciting things happen. You’ll need two rattles, one for you and one for your child. Say, “Ready, set… go” and make as much noise as you can with your rattle and with your voice. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until a routine is established. When the routine is established, say, “Ready, set…” and wait. Wait for a sound or a movement from your baby as his way of saying “go” before you vigorously begin to shake the rattle again.
This game can be applied to lots of different activities. Try building a tower of bricks. Say “up” as you build and encourage your child to say it too. Then say “Ready, set…” and wait for him to make a noise or movement before saying “go!” and knocking them down.
Most young children adore container play — they love throwing things in boxes so that they make a big crash, and they also love fiddling with lids, so no wonder it’s a hit. All you need are some cars, dolls, dinosaurs, etc, and two empty lunch boxes or Tupperwares. Say “bye-bye” each time you theatrically put the item into one of the boxes.
Name each item as you pull it out (“Hello car! Hello dolly! Hello dinosaur!”), then throw it into the other container before starting all over again. Encourage your child to do the picking up and throwing in, and don’t forget to pause and look at them encouragingly so they can join in with the talking. Because container play is so repetitive, it provides a good opportunity to model simple words and sounds over and over.
Classic clapping games
Parents are usually as delighted as their children when their baby first masters clapping — they are communicating to you that they enjoy something. Once little ones have learned to clap, there’s no stopping them! That’s why they love classic clapping games. “Pat-A-Cake” or “Miss Mary Mack” are good songs to start with. Initially, you can sit behind your baby and move her hands to a clapping position, but she will very quickly pick it up herself, and I guarantee that you’ll get some really enthusiastic clapping with these songs!
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